OAKHURST – The Met Cinema now has new owners and a new and innovative business plan.
Residents have been anxiously awaiting news, since it was announced that something was in the works to save the local theater. Now the community is being asked to step up and be the driving force to make the plan succeed.Local entrepreneurs Matt Sconce, James Nelson and Keith Walker have been working hard this past month on a business model they plan to implement at the Met, and have now announced a target date for re-opening of Jan. 1, 2013.
The new plan will turn the cinemas into a subscription-based theater, with members paying a monthly fee, giving them access to see every movie the theater runs.
The key to the success of this venture is participation. There must be enough subscribers to make the plan viable, or the theater won’t reopen. So they are asking everyone to step up and be a “Met Hero.”
Being a member allows people to see each movie once, and if a subscriber wants to see the same movie again, there will be a reduced membership admission price.
Subscribers can sign up at the new website www.savethemet.com. There must be enough subscribers registered by the end of the year to keep the theater open, and the message is, don’t wait to see if this is going to work, sign up now to make sure Oakhurst keeps it’s local movie theater.
Nelson, Sconce and Walker have formed a corporation called “Movie Heroes, Inc.,” and are asking everyone to join them in becoming a “Met hero” by visiting the website, and registering to become part of the effort to save the Met.
Nelson says it’s quick and easy to register online, and no one’s credit card will be charged until the doors actually open for the first show. Also, everything is encrypted so people don’t have to worry about their credit card information being accessible.
Nelson points out that the monthly cost is less than two tickets to see a movie in Fresno, without the expenditure for gas and the higher concession prices. It also keeps money in the local community.
“We need the community to really drive this thing,” says Nelson. “Put it on Facebook, email everyone you know, and tell your friends. Social media will really make this go viral, and it is crucial to get everyone onboard in the next few weeks to make this plan successful.”
The group is working closely with the owners of the property, Nelson says. “This would not be possible if the landlords weren’t onboard, and participating in the way they are.”
Local attorney Greg Chappel has been donating his time to help work through all the permits, licensing and contracts necessary to get things up and running.
Nelson says he will be running the show in the beginning, handling the daily operation of the theater, and working with the previous owners to make the transition. He plans to bring back some of the workers who were let go when the theater closed on Nov. 1.
As for the movie fare, Nelson says customers can expect to see the new releases, and they’re also exploring the possibilities of bringing in some old classics and other ways to make the Met a real center for community entertainment.
“I’m very excited about this,” said Nelson, “and I’m working with two of the smartest guys I know.”
So who are these guys?
James Nelson’s family moved to the mountains from the Los Angeles area when he was five years old. His parents then opened a print shop, and Nelson Press has been serving the community for the many years since.
Nelson says he built his first computer when he was seven years old, and the best Christmas gift he ever got was a new motherboard when he was nine. After serving four years in the Air Force, he returned to Oakhurst, where he married his wife Amy last May. He is a creative solutions expert.
Matt Sconce is a multi-award winning director, writer and filmmaker, who has built a reputation for his ability to focus his vision and make things work. His highly-acclaimed film Stricken had its local debut at the Met Cinema in July 2010.
Sconce grew up in North Fork, graduated from Yosemite High School, and earned a degree in communications. Matt’s father Gary Sconce teaches science at YHS, and has served as producer on some of Matt’s projects. Matt is also a Youth Pastor at the Sierra Pines Church.
Keith Walker, software engineer at Klout and Lockheed Martin, holds a degree in Engineering Physics from University of the Pacific, and attended Carnegie Mellon University.
Walker also grew up in the mountain area, and has won many prestigious awards for his work in software engineering.
This is definitely a group of guys who know how to get things done, and are totally committed to the project. They have a lot of ideas ruminating, and plans for upgrades and various tweaks to the business model going forward. They know they have their work cut out for them in the coming months, but are up to the task, and are anticipating great success.